I liked Wolf Creek just as much as the next guy. I liked Rogue even better. But those two flicks doesn’t mean that Australia is a new breeding ground for well-executed and all-round awesome horror-flicks. Quite the contrary, as films like Red Hill, Road Train and Primal have now shown. I’m saying this because the success of Greg McLean’s two lean films (bad pun intended) is the only source I can possibly think of for the hype that has surrounded Primal since it’s earliest teasing tidbits surfaced online.
Why the fuck anyone would buy into the hype after watching the trailer is completely beyond me, but even though that’s been out for ages people are apparently still looking forward to this crapfest. Stop! Stop now! Primal plays out like nothing more than a weak episode of the X-Files sans the FBI. The premise is kinda cool, the execution is awful and every single time the movie gears up to show some balls it eventually chickens out leaving it all the more frustrating. The only redeeming factor here is that the storyline gets so ridiculous and nonsensical towards the end that Primal ends up as a so-horribly-bad-you-have-to-laugh kinda film.
So, yeah, in case you haven’t seen the trailer and have gotten the entire storyline delivered to you there, the film goes something like this: Six friends are camping and gearing up for sex in the Australian outback. They decide they have to walk through an old cave, that we know to be dangerous because we’ve seen the opening scene where an aboriginal caveman gets attacked by some false teeth and a loud noise. Having passed through the evil cave one of the hot chicks decides to skinny dip in an evil lake which causes her to grow some false teeth of her own and attack her friends while making loud noises.
From here on it’s one terribly executed scene after another. From the guys and gals arguing over who get’s to kill the next guy who’s infected by the monster-virus to the unintentionally funny “fights” and “jumps” and all the way through to the amazingly stupid climax of bad CGI. The most frustrating thing about Primal, though, isn’t the nonsense of the dialogue, the fact that it features the single most annoying character I can recall or the unintentional comedy of the gore and action scenes. No, the one thing that really pissed me off, is that every time the script actually sports an interesting idea or intriguing concept, the filmmakers back out and don’t follow through. I mean, it’s a cool idea, that the primitive monster-people should have animalistic sex, but when it’s plainly obvious that they’re still wearing shorts, then the scene won’t have the emotional punch it apparently still has on the annoying guy. Primal is littered with these moments that could have worked, had the filmmakers had the chops to follow through.
Once I realized that this wasn’t a well-executed tale of panic and desperation, nor an ironic piece of genre-cinema (there’s a lot of Cabin Fever in here actually) – once I realized it was just badly acted crap – I started laughing. And thank bejesus for that! ‘Cause once you start laughing, the last 30 minutes are so over the top ridiculous, I actually left the cinema with a smile on my face instead of the horrible feeling of wasting my time that should have been there. I guess I’d only recommend this to people who enjoy watching filmmakers fail. For all others and in all fairness, Primal is just crap. It’s that simple. Kill the hype now!